Falling in love is all about fateful timing: being in the right place at the right time.
Like most native New Englanders, I suspect, I’ve always enjoyed visiting Kennebunkport in the summer. (Warm days and fresh lobster on the Maine coast — how can you not swoon?) But as anyone in a relationship can tell you, it’s during life’s little storms – not under its fair skies – when love really reveals itself. Kennebunkport was walloped with a winter storm this Valentine’s Day, while me and my other-half were celebrating with an off-season weekend getaway. It could have been a disaster — but as fate would have it, it was just what we needed: a reason to slow down and soak in the sweet charm of a quintessential New England resort town. The place has a lot of heart.
If you haven’t bothered to visit Kennebunkport in its quieter season, now’s a good time. (In fact, during the weekend of Friday, March 13, the town is hosting a series of “Valentine’s Do-Over” promotions and events. More on that momentarily.) Kennebunkport in the off-season is quiet — very quiet. That’s part of the appeal, of course, though we didn’t expect it would be entering such serious hibernation mode when we checked in to the Kennebunkport Inn on Friday, February 13. As unluckiness would have it, a major winter storm – predicted to dump about two feet of snow amid hurricane-strength winds – was swiftly moving in, scheduled to hit Saturday night. The inn was ready to receive overnight lovebirds: a sparkling red “Valentine’s” tree (more tasteful than it sounds) glowed in the parlor, and a stack of souvenir pins reading “Love KPT” awaited at check-in. But several guests had already cancelled their stay, said the front desk clerk as she processed our arrival; hopefully, she added, we won’t lose power.
The good news was: if there was a place to be snowed in – it was here. The Kennebunkport Inn is part of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, a portfolio of properties with distinct identities but a common, contemporary sheen that runs throughout. The Kennebunkport Inn is housed in a stately, rambling structure built in the 1890s but recently renovated. Our room – 214, perhaps not coincidentally for a Valentine’s getaway – had a casual elegance, as though Ralph Lauren had signed on board for an HGTV-aired interiors makeover show.
A vibrant palette of reds, white and blues made it a warm and welcoming space to nest after a filling dinner at One Dock, the inn’s restaurant and lounge housed in what feels like an ample living room. We dug in to contemporary American plates of mussels, bourbon-glazed pork belly and red wine-braised short ribs as a fireplace flickered to one side and a pianist tickled ivories to the other. After fighting Friday evening traffic out of Boston, this is just the right way to unwind.
Winter might be overstaying its welcome, but at least that allows for extended opportunity to enjoy some of New England’s snow-filled fun — and the Kennebunkport Inn can help guests make arrangements for everything from snowshoeing to sleigh rides. With a blizzard about to bear down, we weren’t in the position to take advantage. But there’s plenty to do and see even while keeping it low-key, from ducking into adorable art galleries and shops that line Dock Square (check out Minka and Abacus in particular for art, fashion accessories and gifts) to taking a sip from the area’s craft brew scene: upstairs from the Kennebunkport Brewing Company is Federal Jack’s, a casual neighborhood eatery for grabbing topnotch chowder and clam rolls alongside a pint of suds. Afterwards we took a quick drive to neighboring Kennebunk for treatments at The Spa at River’s Edge. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a spa snob, but I indulge often enough to offer strong context — and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my facial was one of the best I’ve had, period, in or outside of Boston’s higher-end Back Bay spots. (And at a predictably lower price point too, even if you add on the extra eye treatment. You should, by the way.)
By the time we slipped out of our robes and back into street clothes, the storm was starting to pick up the pace. So it was back to the Inn for a quick sip of bubbly before our dinner reservations at David’s KPT, the sleek, modern American at sibling property The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel, just across the Dock Square.
The three-minute trudge through swirling snowflakes was just long enough for a laugh before battening down in the window-lined riverside dining room that bustled with cocktailing couples (younger, compared to some of the other restaurants) for the standout meal of the weekend. The New England-inspired fare included a tender filet mignon with a perfect cauliflower-parmesan mash, skewers of citrus- and truffle-inflected shrimp and scallops, and plenty of fresh oysters from the raw bar. Outside the window, inches accumulated on a docked ship; it looked like something phantom Arctic pirates might hijack. But inside we were warm, rosy from wine and five years of Valentine’s Days. We hadn’t been counting on this interfering snowstorm, but in a world of constant digital connection – buzzing phones, rapidly refilling email inboxes – we were suddenly grateful for Mother Nature imposing upon us a moment to stop, slow down, and appreciate what was right in front of us. The timing was just right, and I found myself in love with Kennebunkport in a whole new way.
Visit DestinationKennebunkport.com to check out winter packages and special rates. Try to make it up for the “Valentine’s Do-Over” weekend on March 13-14, which also coincides with Maine Restaurant Week.
Valentine’s day is just around the corner so I thought I would make it easy for you guys and feature a few great gifts in every price range.
These days, my favorite thing in jewelry is personalization. I love being able to give people meaningful gifts, and what better way to do this than showing some love with an engraved pendant. A favorite of mine is the Melene Kent single letter pendants. A great gift idea is the use of the initial of the person’s child, or pet, or first letter of their name. I love to shop local and this company is based in Massachusetts.
Three Sisters Jewelry Design makes gorgeous hand engraved name plates. I was lucky enough to get one with the names of both my children and my husband’s and mine initials “B M T”, all on three separate pendants layered in a single chain. I love the idea of layering, so if you really want to splurge, consider more than one.
In the medium tier price range, but also sticking with the personalization theme, I found these gorgeous GV Gemvara customizable stacker rings:
These are very cool when worn on the knuckles of the younger set. I love the idea of birthstones for every family member, and adding a fifth one for your anniversary date! My ring would be 14K yellow gold with ruby, aquamarine, smoky quartz, sapphire and amethyst. Depending on the size of your family, there are one stone, two stone and five stone options. There is also the option of customizing necklaces the same way. This is another local company started right here in Boston, which makes it a more meaningful purchase.
Also in the medium tier price range is the new T Square bracelet from Tiffany in rose gold. Their new boutique at the head of Newbury Street in the Taj Hotel, has a wide range of pricing, from $100-$10,000.00 And who doesn’t love getting the teal blue box with a neatly tied white satin ribbon?
If your price range teeters on the luxury end, I have also recently fallen in love with Mimi So’s diamonds. I first met her when she came to town for the MGH Storybook Ball, where she had donated a $25,000 package of her baubles. Don’t worry, there are items below $25,000 in her collection. What I suggest for a gift from her collection, are the stacker bracelets, though I LOVE the unexpected nature of the split rings and bows which are a huge signature item of Mimi’s. However, rings are often a dicey gift item unless you are already married…(according to my hubby). For the stackers, try a single one in rosegold, and add on the white gold stacker at a future birthday and the black diamond one at Christmas. Here are a few more favorite looks from Mimi So.
In any event, if you are late with your shopping—as we all often are!– some of these, such as Gemvara.com have a very quick turn around for customization. But you could also order it, and give a romantic handmade card with a “token” or “coupon” for the item, which will be coming in at a later date. Simply attach this to the bouquet of flowers you are getting your honey and you are guaranteed a smash hit.
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“What Lies Beneath” is almost unbearably rife with visually stunning shots alluding to the myth of Leda and the Swan, Millais’ painting Ophelia, and a dash of salacious horror movie gore. Add to that a flawless set design, an atmospheric and eerie backing track, and models that embody an otherworldly beauty (including the likes of Lara Stone, Mariacarla Boscono, and Xiao Wen Ju) and I’m completely sucked into the dark disjointed narrative that Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott have wrought for the viewer.
Check out the video on Love Magazine’s homepage HERE. Be warned, this is NSFW.
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